What we love…
ability to turn on and off items with the tap of a remote or via my iPhone
What we’d love to see…
a one button touch for the remote versus on and off buttons on the current remote
Home automation is a trend of the future both for saving energy as well as convenience. Using the Mi|Home System means you will never have to come home to a dark house, worry about the temperature of your Nest thermostat as well as have the ability to check on your home to ensure that it is safe if you are travelling or away.
The Mi|Home by ENERGENIE is a smart home system that integrates a hub known as the Mi|Home Gateway with a remote control, and radio controlled sockets that allow you to switch items on and off with the tap of a remote. This means that if you arrive home later than planned, you can either use the remote to turn on lights at your home, or the included app to turn on lights with the tap of a button. For purposes of this review, I tested a Mi|Home Gateway, three Mi|Home adapters which I plugged various items into as well as a Mi|Home remote control. The system I tested is meant to be used in the UK, so I added adapters to use it in the United States. The Mi|Home also includes a Multi-Plug which could be used for a television, cable box and entertainment system. It can also be used to heating as well. There is also a Mi|Home Light which can be used to control lights in your house. You can also integrate Amazon Alexa with the Mi|Home to control your accessories. It will also work with the Nest thermostat so you can turn up and down your thermostat if you arrive home later than normal or away on vacation and stay longer than planned. The Mi|Home System also uses geofencing so you can set your devices to turn on when you get within a certain radius – for me I used a one mile radius so when my iPhone was in range items turned on.
Setup was straightforward, I installed the Mi|Home app on my iPhone and then added each of the Mi|Home control adapters which I then tagged and plugged something into. I used a lamp in my living room, a radio in my kitchen we listen to frequently, and the third was another lamp on the second floor of my home. I paired the Mi|Home Gateway with my internet connection and internet booster as my home internet setup is upstairs and I didn’t find that it gave me enough coverage from my home router to work throughout the house — this is a common problem for me and is a problem at my home not with the device. You can also pair devices to the hub via your computer or iPhone. To pair, you simply tap “add a device” pick the photo of the device you are trying to add, for me I used the adapter plus and then plugged them in and followed directions to pair which involved waiting for a light to start flashing. I then finally paired the remote.
Using the included remote control I could turn on and off each of the sockets or I used my iPhone. One my favorite features of it was that it did not require line of sight similar to your cable remote to turn on and off things. You can also plug in appliances to the Mi|Home adapters that you want to be able to turn on and off like a toaster or perhaps a coffee maker. I can see it being great during the holidays if you had a Christmas tree that you wanted to turn on and off using the timer function. When using your iPhone or Android device you can access the Mi|Home System from the cloud. I chose not to use the adapters to power my garage doors since they were turned on in proxy from my iPhone and I would not be able to tell if they were opened or closed using the included app — this is something I would love to do in the future as I always worry about my garage door when I leave in a hurry.
I loved that I no longer had to walk into a dark house if I got home later than planned or that I could easily turn on a light upstairs without having to climb the stairs or that my house would be lit up . The range of the remote was good – I could stand in my garage and turn on things upstairs or bring the remote upstairs to turn off the last light before going to bed and not have to walk upstairs in the dark. I also liked that I could add or change items on the fly – for example, I knew I was going to be home late so I quickly switched a socket to one near the top of my stairs for better security lighting upon my return home. As I started using it more, I found that I was using my iPhone more than the included remote control – although admittedly it was night to have the remote if my phone died or was downstairs on the charger.
Overall, I loved the ease and convenience of the Mi|Home System and knowing I didn’t have to walk into a dark house — or that I could turn on the lights off or on remotely or via my iPhone with the geofencing. Included in the package I tested were a central hub, remote control and 3 smart home adapters at an estimated RRV of £70.
by Sandal PLC
Category: Utilities, Lifestyle
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 55.17 MB
Screenshots (Click to enlarge)
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.
First in ‘iHome Control’ series of Intelligent Home Products
RAHWAY, NJ, June 2, 2015 – iHome announces its HomeKit-enabled smart plug (model iSP5) will be available for pre-order on June 15 at iHome.com for $39.99 and is expected to start hitting retail destinations in late June and throughout July.
With the HomeKit-enabled iHome iSP5 SmartPlug, consumers can use Siri or the iHome Control app to control lamps, fans and other home devices from anywhere with their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Users can also group several iHome SmartPlugs into individual “scenes” to control multiple connected devices within a home. Additionally the iHome Control app allows for the creation of custom scenes to control multiple SmartPlugs with a single command, or to create schedules for complete home automation.
The sleek design of the iHome iSP5 SmartPlug fits a standard wall socket and will not block the other outlet. The slim design allows for one plug to be free, or the installation of two SmartPlugs in one standard wall socket. The iHome iSP5 SmartPlug requires a Wi-Fi connection and HomeKit requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 8.1 or later.
The iHome iSP5 SmartPlug is the first in a planned series of products from the new iHome Control line of smart home accessories.
To preorder the iHome iSP5 SmartPlug, or for more information, visit: http://www.ihomeaudio.com/discover/smart_plug/.
iHome was established in 2005 as a division of SDI Technologies, a company with over 60 years of consumer electronics innovation. The first iHome product introduced, an iPod-docking clock radio, was the top-selling iPod accessory for the year and firmly established iHome as the premier brand in the audio accessories market. Today, iHome remains the #1 selling brand in digital player speakers* with an impressive catalog of award-winning products.
iHome is currently pioneering a new area of connected consumer electronics with the release of its iHome Control line of smart home products. Compatible with Apple and Android portable devices, the first product in the series, the iHome iSP5 SmartPlug, is a launch partner with Apple’s HomeKit smart home software.
iHome’s products can be found at retail and online locations in over 70 countries. For more information on iHome and its products, visit ihome.com, Facebook (facebook.com/iHome), or follow @iHome on Twitter.
*According to NPD data
What we love…
Totally wireless camera installation, magnetic mounting system, free cloud storage with basic plan, weatherproof cameras with HD recording, motion detection and night vision, ability to schedule modes.
What we’d love to see…
More options to integrate with other Smart Home products, more detailed “how to” guide within the app
I find the Arlo security camera a really useful addition to my home. I really love the mounting system and that fact that the cameras are wireless -no need to worry about finding an electrical outlet, no wires to hide and really easy to reposition the cameras. I have been happy with the video quality, motion detection and night vision.
Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.
The Arlo Security system consists of a base station which you attach to your router, wireless cameras, and a cloud based storage system. The cameras can record in HD quality, are battery operated, have night vision, motion detection and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The camera feed can be accessed via a SmartPhone app or via the Arlo website, and can be set to send you alerts by text and email when motion is detected. I first got to see the Arlo home security camera system at it’s launch press conference in San Francisco in November 2014, and liked what I saw, so I was excited to get the opportunity to check it out in my home. I tested the Arlo home Security System and 2 cameras using the iPhone app and the Arlo website (via my Mac.)
It was very easy to set up, after installing the camera batteries I plugged in the base unit and connected it to my router via an included ethernet cable. Then I created an online account which just took a few minutes, and as I also like to access my Arlo camera feed on the go I installed the free Arlo app on my iPhone and iPad. Then I synced the cameras to the base station. This was very easy: you just bring the cameras close to the base unit and press the sync button on both cameras and base station and lights on the camera let you know when they have successfully synced.
One of my favorite features of the Arlo system is how easy it is to mount and move the cameras. They are totally wireless and mount by a clever magnetic mounting system, which makes mounting and moving them a breeze. They come with 4 mounts which you can put up with 1 screw each, these look like a metal ball cut in half, the camera attaches to it via a strong magnet and the semi-circular mount makes it really easy to change the camera angle. The cameras run on 4 CR123A batteries, they come with disposable batteries but you can easily buy rechargeable versions with a charger if you prefer.
For each camera you can set up rules as to when to record – you can record when motion in sensed by that camera or by another camera, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection and how long to record- from 10 second clips up to 120 seconds. The motion sensor works best when the movement is occurring across the viewfinder of the camera rather than straight towards it, so it is good to bear that in mind when positioning the cameras. You can use “motion detection mode” during set up, which flashes lights to tell you when motion is detected, to adjust the sensitivity to the level you want. To get the best camera positioning there is a “position mode” which lets you view the camera feed in real time as you adjust its positioning. You can also change the video quality settings depending on whether you want to the best video quality or want to optimize battery life. The camera can record up to 720p quality, I set mine at the medium quality level, and I’m happy with the video quality and have seen no noticeable decrease in the battery level after a month’s usage.
The camera system is set up to allow “if,then” programming, at the moment the options for are limited to: when motion is detected record on your choice of cameras +/- sending alerts, but the system is set up to allow more options in future. I hope that in the near future that we will see more options available for integrating Arlo with other smart home products. NETGEAR have already announced a partnership with LIFX, so I’m looking forward to having the option to automatically turn on my LIFX bulbs when Arlo detects motion by the front door.
Once you have set up your various modes and rules for those modes you can switch between modes manually or set up a schedule. I love having the schedule option as it means I can set up for my regular day- having my “security” mode on during the times I am usually out so I can get notified if there is any activity, and my “home and awake” where I don’t get notified of any activity in the house but do get notified if someone is at the door, and then a sleeping mode for night time. I also have a vacation mode that I manually switch on when we are away. If my schedule changes from my pre-set routine I can just switch off the schedule from the Arlo app and manually pick the mode instead.
I was going out on vacation just after I installed the Arlo system so I set it up to monitor my front door and inside the house, this gave me great peace of mind from a security viewpoint, but also let me know when we had some packages delivered so I could contact a neighbor and ask her to look after them until we returned home. Now I am leaving one camera set up permanently near the front door, and as the camera is weather proof I don’t have to worry about it being affected by the fog or rain. The second camera I use indoors and move its position depending on what I am using it for at the time – sometimes it is a child monitor, other times a pet monitor or an indoor security camera. With the magnetic mounting system and no wires to worry about, I love how easily I can move the camera.
As well as recording with the Arlo you can look at your camera feed in real time via the app or website – I find this useful to check on my pets remotely when I’m not home and to watch what my children are up to when they are supposed to be going to sleep! When using it as a baby/ child monitor remember it does not have audio, just video, which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your viewpoint!
The night vision also works well – this is great for security if someone rings the doorbell after dark as you can see who it is before answering the door. I also have a child with Sleep Apnea who can have difficulty getting to sleep or problems with waking up in the night, so it is useful for me to be able to check on her without going in to disturb her.
The first time I used Arlo I came back from vacation and got about 30 text messages and recordings due to motion being detected as we unpacked the car, before I worked out how to switch it off! So I would recommend taking a little time to get familiar with how the settings and modes work. It would be nice to see a detailed “how to guide” within the app, this information is available on the website and in YouTube videos, but it would be nice to have it right at your fingertips on your smartphone.
Video Storage and Pricing
Your video clips are stored in the cloud and can be accessed via the app or website. In the library there is a calendar, days you have clips stored from are marked in green, and you can view collections of clips by the day. You can mark clips as favorites (which won’t be automatically deleted), share them, delete or download them from the library.
There are 3 levels of service for the Arlo system – basic is free, supports 1 base station and up to 5 cameras and includes 7 days of cloud recording (up to 1GB cloud storage); Premium is $99/ year, supports up 10 cameras, 30 Days of Cloud Recording (Up to 10 GB Cloud Storage), Elite is $149.00/year, supports up to 15 cameras and 3 Base Stations, and includes 60 Days of Cloud Recording (Up to 100 GB Cloud Storage.) I do like that you have the option of having a free service as not all systems offer this, but with the basic service you do need to be quite “on top” of your storage-checking it regularly to see if there are any clips you wish to download or favorite so that you don’t miss them before they are deleted.
The Arlo Security system comes in a variety of packages I tested the 2 camera starter system which includes 2 cameras, 4 mounts and 1 base station its RRP is $349 it is available from Amazon and other retailers, additional cameras sold separately.
Overall, I find the Arlo security camera a really useful addition to my home. I really love the mounting system and that fact that the cameras are wireless -no need to worry about finding an electrical outlet, no wires to hide and really easy to reposition the cameras. I have been happy with the video quality, motion detection and night vision. I love that the cameras can be used inside and out, though it does make me a little nervous that it is so easy to remove the outside camera- although at least if a thief it take a camera I’d get a video of them doing so!
Arlo – NETGEAR
Arlo is the worldwide leader in Smart Home Security, and the creator of the world’s first ever 100% wire-free, weatherproof HD security camera.
Arlo cameras make it easy to keep tabs on all the important.
LIFX Smart LED bulbs are Wi-fi radio enabled and don’t need a bridge or hub. They can be controlled via WiFi at home or remotely via the internet. They are brighter than most SmartLights with brightness of a 75w incandescent bulb but use only 17w. You can easily control their brightness and color using a smartphone app. With the recent update they integrate with Nest and can use IFTTT control to do a huge range of if, then sequences. The lighting of the future here today!
After staying much the same for decades, lightbulbs have undergone massive changes in the last few years, first with the introduction of CFCs, then with LEDs and now Smart LED technology. LIFX is one of the companies leading the way in Smart Lighting, it debuted on Kickstarter in September 2012 where it raised $1.3m in just six days. One thing that sets LIFX apart from many of its competitors is that the bulb itself is Wi-fi radio enabled and you don’t need to use a bridge or hub with it. The LIFX bulb is Wi-Fi and mesh radio enabled and can be controlled via an app on your tablet or Smartphone, with the latest update it can also be controlled remotely over the internet from a computer, tablet or smartphone. I tested LIFX using an iPhone 5 and iPad.
Set up is very straightforward, you just unscrew your old lightbulb and replace it with a LIFX bulb. The bulbs are quite big and heavy (10.4oz), they fitted just fine in the lamps I used them in, but the size might be a problem in small light fixtures. The bulbs can be used immediately in your light fixtures as soon as you switch them on, but to access the smart features you need to download the free LIFX app. To set up a new bulb you first connect to its WiFi and then to your Wi-Fi network – it is very quick and easy. You can create different groups for your bulbs allowing you to choose whether to control just one bulb at a time, a group or bulbs or all your bulbs. With the update to LIFX 2.0 and above, the app also asks for an email address, this is used to set up a LIFX account in the cloud so you can control your LIFX bulbs remotely over the internet. To use all the new features I also needed to do a firmware update on my bulbs- this is done via the free LIFX Updater app , and can take 30 min+ to update.
One of my favorite things about LIFX is the huge array of color choices, making it very easy to adjust the lighting to suit the mood, you can choose from shades of white or colors. To change the color you just turn the color wheel and the brightness is controlled via a dial in the center. With the colors at up to 50% brightness they are vivid colors, above that white is added in so you get tinted whites. For whites there is a whole range of shades of white from warm whites through to harsher more daylight -like blue-whites, the whites also have a white color wheel to control them.
The LIFX bulb is brighter than most other Smart Bulbs on the market, at maximum brightness it puts out 1,017 lumens which is about the same as a 75W bulb, but only uses 17w. It is rated to last up to 40,000 hours or 27 years of use, it will be a while before I can tell you if it lives up to that rating!!
The LIFX app also allows you to use a number of special effect lighting styles- candle flicker, color cycles, strobe and music visualizer. The app has just undergone a major update and with it there is a new Smarts tab, IFTTT control, integration with the NEST Smart Thermostat and with NEST Protect. The Smarts tab lets you quickly choose a mood lighting by choosing from a variety of thumbnail pictures each representing a different mood. To use the IFTTT you first have to create a (free) IFTTT account and then you can access a community with a huge range of if then programming already created or create your own. Examples of ideas/ recipes you can find are: if you get a Facebook notification then flash your lights blue, if the sun is setting dim your lights to a golden yellow, if you are on vacation toggle your lights off and on to make it seem like the house is occupied. This gives a whole new range of ways to control your LIFX lights.
I have really enjoyed testing the LIFX bulbs, but at $79 each I’m not ready yet to invest in changing all of my home lights over to LIFX smart bulbs, instead I will be using them in strategic locations throughout my home. With the bulbs lasting for 25 years+ and using less energy than conventional lights the running costs will be significantly less than for conventional bulbs, so some of this initial outlay will be recouped over time.
I think over the next few years we will see more and more connected “smart home” devices and I look forward to seeing how they will integrate with one another. LIFX is now integrated with the Nest thermostat and Nest Protect and have announced plans to integrate with Arlo Smart Home cameras too. I love all the extra features these LIFX bulbs have compared to standard bulbs and look forward to seeing more and more features and partnerships added over time.
The LIFX bulbs retail for $79 for a single bulb with discounts for purchasing multi-packs and are available from LIFX.com, Amazon and other retailers.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.